Day 23: Tameka Fryer Brown

Tameka Fryer Brown writes to sow seeds of self-love, pride, connectivity, and inclusion in the hearts of children. Her picture books have won awards like the Jane Addams Children’s Book Honor Award, the Charlotte Huck Honor Award, and the Charlotte Zolotow Honor Award. They’ve also been recognized on Best Book lists by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, NPR, Parents Latina Magazine, Kirkus, SLJ, Bank Street College, Little Free Library,  and more. Tameka’s published titles include Brown Baby Lullaby, Twelve Dinging Doorbells, Not Done Yet: Shirley Chisholm’s Fight for Change, and That Flag. Her next two books, All the Greatness in You and Prayer Is, will be released November 5, 2024 and Fall 2025, respectively.

Tameka is a member of KidLit in Color, Black Creators HQ, and of course, a longtime member of The Brown Bookshelf. 

The Journey So Far

It’s been a blessed ride. The more I learn to keep my car in my own lane and enjoy the bespoke journey that’s been charted for me, the more I realize just how blessed it’s been.

I joined SCBWI in 2005; won a first runner-up prize in the Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories contest in 2008; published Around Our Way in 2010; published My Cold Plum…Mood in 2013; had a dry spell while life was lifing (and everyone was rejecting my Confederate flag book) for six years; published Brown Baby Lullaby in 2020, Twelve Dinging Doorbells and Not Done Yet  in 2022, That Flag in 2023; and am now looking forward to sharing two more books over the next couple of years: All the Greatness in You (November 2024) and Prayer Is (Fall 2025).

Have there been stresses and struggles, discouragement and disappointments along the way? Absolutely. In fact, I quit being a writer about every three months. But there’s also been friendship. And personal growth. And reassurance from readers who let me know from time to time how much my stories mean to them. These are the things that feed and sustain my creativity. They’re why I keep suiting up and getting back in the game.

Every day, I get better at understanding and expressing myself, better at silencing the noise and staying focused on my seed-sowing mission. It’s progress for which I couldn’t be more grateful because even with all the unpredictable twists, turns, highs, and lows of this author life, there’s honestly nothing else I would rather do.

The Backstory for NOT DONE YET
#BlackHistory #WomensHistory #AmericanHistory #CaribbeanHistory #PoliticalScience #Civics #Antiracism

Nina and Tameka

In early 2017, an author friend, Kristy Dempsey, tagged me in a tweet from an editor who was asking for a picture book about the imitable politician and changemaker, Shirley A. Chisholm. I was flattered Kristy thought I was up to the task of writing about this iconic ancestor, and also very convinced non-fiction was way outside my wheelhouse. But I still kept mulling the idea. It took me two years to figure out how I could best tell Mrs. Chisholm’s story, which only came to me once I recognized all the personality traits she and my grandmother had in common, especially their no-nonsense demeanor and fighting spirit. After that, it became a passion project.

Not Done Yet: Shirley Chisholm’s Fight for Change (illustrated by Nina Crews, published by Lerner) is written as a narrative free verse poem, intentionally crafted with language and imagery that is relatable to younger readers. Extensive backmatter makes it a gem for older readers as well, as it includes an exceptionally detailed timeline, links, and other resources to enrich the learning experience. Nina Crews’ art for the book is colorful, creative, engaging—just exceptional in every way. Not Done Yet was designated a Best Book of 2022 by a number of entities, including Kirkus Reviews who said it was “as powerful as the woman it profiles.” I could not be prouder of this book.

The Privilege of BBS Membership

Nothing has had a greater impact on my book-writing career than my affiliation with The Brown Bookshelf. So many of the professional and personal bonds I’ve forged over the past fourteen years have been a direct result of my work with BBS. It has been the vehicle through which I’ve learned the most about the children’s book industry, and also the means through which I have been able to serve it the most. As a textbook introvert, I cannot imagine how much longer and lonelier my publication journey would’ve been without my Brown Bookshelf family. So glad I’ll never have to know.

The Brown Bookshelf and friends at ALA


My Website –

My Instagram – @tamekafryerbrown

My Public Facebook Page – Tameka Fryer Brown, Children’s Book Author

My Twitter – @teebrownkidlit

My TikTok – @tamekafryerbrown

One thought on “Day 23: Tameka Fryer Brown

  1. As one who has traveled this literary journey with Tameka, I am so proud of the works she has produced and made available to the youth of the world. I am especially proud of her portrayal of the great Shirley Chisholm in a way that young readers can understand and appreciate.

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